On August 14, 2018, the Poverty Reduction and Development Conference of the Forum on China-African Cooperation opened at the Beijing International Conference Center. Deng Boqing, vice chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, delivered the following speech at the conference.
Distinguished Head Liu Yongfu, dear guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It is such a great pleasure to attend the “Forum on China-African Cooperation: Poverty Reduction and Development Conference”. On behalf of the International Development Cooperation Agency, I would love to congratulate you on the successful convening of the conference, and extend a sincere welcome to all of the participating guests.
Today we are meeting here for a shared cause, to reduce poverty and seek common development. It is a long-cherished dream by mankind, and a shared vision of the Chinese and African peoples. This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up in China. In the past 4 decades, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese government and people have found a path for success after difficulties and hardship. Over 700 million people have been relived from poverty, with a poverty rate now below 4 percent, down from 97.5 percent at the beginning of the reform. In the past 40 years, the African nations have also been working on finding an effective trajectory of poverty reduction that suits their own needs, and have successfully lowered their poverty rates. With mutual efforts and actions taken, we have contributed to mankind’s fight against poverty, leaving our significant marks in the world’s history.
In this process, China and Africa have been supporting each other for mutual development. While China is dedicated to reducing poverty domestically, it has been providing our friends in Africa with aid and assistance free from any political conditions attached as best we can. Since the Johannesburg Summit in 2015, the mutually agreed “10 Major Cooperation Plans” have been successfully implemented. The funding plan worth 60 billion USD committed by China has also been carried out effectively. In the last three years, China has helped construct, renovate, and maintain over 2000 kilometers of railways and highways, implemented over 240 poverty reduction projects with women and children as key beneficiaries, established the South-South Cooperation Assistance Foundation and Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, hosted 30 training sessions on poverty reduction, and cultivated over 40,000 professionals in varied capacities for African countries. With the assistance of the China-African cooperation projects, tens of thousands of our African friends have found jobs, acquired skills and techniques, and are on their way to affluence. These projects have been a nursery of talents needed by independent development in Africa that has been continuously fueling the fight against poverty there. It is proven that China and Africa are allies in their endeavors towards development, and “good fellows” in poverty reduction as well.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As the world is experiencing significantly increased uncertainties and destabilizing factors, the issue of peace and development is outstanding. In Africa, about 400 million people are still living in poverty, and for China, we need to realize the goal of uplifting the entire impoverished population in rural areas, according to current standards, out of poverty by 2020. We both have arduous tasks to meet, which will take more efforts than ever.
This September, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-African Cooperation is being held in Beijing. It brings new opportunities for China-African cooperation on poverty reduction, and opens a new chapter of China-African cooperation toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation. China will uphold the political concept featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, and link the “One-Belt-One-Road” goals with poverty reduction cooperation. It is our mission to help Africa realize independent and sustainable development and eliminate poverty with your needs as our direction.
We will enhance policy communications with our African counterparts, and promote the exchanges of poverty reduction and development concepts. China, in its fight against poverty, has established a set of concepts that suits China’s realities. For example, the fundamental approach is to place emphasis on development as the key and a driving momentum to poverty reduction. When it comes to implementation, we have been taking targeted measures in poverty reduction for enhanced efficiency. And on the resource side, we integrated the government and private resources for a synergy against poverty. We would love to share our experiences and concepts with you according to your requests. Taking into consideration the 2063 Agenda of the African Union and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, China is more than willing to assist in formulating poverty reduction and development plans that meet national needs, and in finding the proper ways of poverty reduction and development.
We will help enhance the infrastructure in Africa that provides a basis for poverty reduction and development. Inter-connected infrastructure brings the benefits of lowered logistics costs, new demands and jobs, and puts Africa at an advantageous position in the global supply chain, industrial chain and value chain. It also helps enhance the overall competitiveness of the region. China would love to help Africa, on a priority basis, address the issue of outdated infrastructure, and continue to offer support on planning, feasibility study and project implementation on key inter-connection projects in Africa. We hope to play a leading role in diversifying the funding sources for those projects.
We will assist Africa in realizing smooth trade and shaping an opening-up pattern for poverty reduction and development. Free trade is a well-recognized consensus of the international communities, and an unstoppable trend. Closed development is not going anywhere, and only by opening-up, can we realize development. With all due respect on the sovereignty rights of African countries, China would love to further help you realize smooth trade with focus on modernizing customs and inspection units. We hope to launch exchanges and cooperation in standard setting, market entry, training, customs inspection facility upgrading, and animal and plant quarantine technology, as part of our efforts to help Africa improve export capacity and trade integration.
We will help with expanding funding channels and resources for poverty reduction and development. Funding is a constraint on poverty reduction and development. Under the One-Belt-One-Road Initiative, China is willing to direct funding into African countries’ poverty reduction and development projects from the China-Africa Productivity Cooperation Fund, China-Africa Development Fund, Special Loan for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Africa, the New Development Bank, Silk Road Fund, and company-held funds. In the meanwhile, we will guard you against any debt crisis or fiscal burden resulted from irrational investments, and ensure sustainability of the poverty reduction endeavor in Africa.
We will enhance communications among peoples and provide a strong social basis for poverty reduction and development. Poverty reduction is all about the people, and its outcomes should serve the people too. China would love to work with Africa to address the livelihood issues to the concerns of the African people, and guide the aid projects towards that area so that more people will enjoy the outcomes from the China-African cooperation. China looks forward to launching more cooperation in education, culture, and medical care with Africa, promote mutual understanding, respect and trust amongst our people, and lay a solid foundation for our future cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In China, we have a saying that “a day is only good when you share it with another". We will not only improve livelihood for the Chinese, but also wish to work with the rest of the world, especially the developing nations, to improve the lives of people there too. On the path of poverty reduction, China and Africa have joined hands. Bearing the historic responsibilities, let’s work hand in hand towards a poverty-free future and realize mutual development.
Last but not least, I wish the Forum a great success!